David Kaiser: "Gravity: A Political History"Abstract:
A popular image persists of Albert Einstein as a loner, someone who avoided the hustle and bustle of everyday life in favor of quiet contemplation. Yet Einstein was deeply engaged with politics throughout his life; indeed, he was so active politically that the US FBI kept him under surveillance for decades. His most enduring scientic legacy, the general theory of relativity – physicists’ reigning explanation for gravity and the basis for nearly all our thinking about the cosmos – has likewise been cast as an austere temple standing aloof from the all-toohuman dramas of political history. But was it so? is talk explores surprising linkages between the pursuit of general relativity and the political history of the 20th century, tracing the embedding of the research in the wider context of the social responsibility of science.
The Max von Laue Lecture is open for all conference participants and interested public. The entrance is free.